Alaska Aerospace Corporation and Camden County Sign Pointless MOU
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WOODBINE, Ga. – June 15, 2020 – Alaska Aerospace Corporation (AAC), owner and operator of FAA-licensed commercial spaceport, Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska (PSCA), and Camden County, Georgia have entered a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work cooperatively on establishing common operating environments for launch operators who wish to reach both orbits.
Camden County has previously signed Memorandums of Understanding with Vector Launch (bankrupt), ABL Space Systems (annulled), Organic Code Development (startup), and Opifex Global LLC (startup astronaut trainer) resulting in ZERO jobs for Camden County and ZERO return on investment for Camden taxpayers. More than $8.5 million has been expended.
Alaska Aerospace Corporation’s primary funding is an $80.4 million, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract from the Federal Missile Defense Agency. AAC received $19,556,000 in 2019 from Federal sources, an additional $4,697,900 in FY2020, and is budgeted to receive $4,697,900 in FY2021 to provide readiness availability for non-commercial US Defense missile testing. The twenty-year-old spaceport anticipates a total of $1,864,000 in Other Revenue for 2021, covering only 28% of the spaceport’s total expenses.
Alaska Aerospace’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Aurora Launch Service, LLC. is headquartered in Anchorage, Alaska. Aurora says it "provides flexible contract services for existing or future commercial and government spaceports." Aurora also says, “The majority of the company is comprised of part-time employees. These part-time employees will work at launch locations and launch periods specifically identified by individual contracts for launch services.” (source: https://auroralaunchservices.com/#news)
In 2017, AAC Chief Executive Officer Campbell said they’re, "Looking at partnering with developing spaceports, possibly in Georgia, Texas, or Scotland. There are a number of other places looking at developing spaceports, and we think we could probably provide a very competitive proposal how using Aurora Launch Services for their launch services at those locations would be very beneficial to them as well as giving us more business for Alaska."
Despite primary Federal funding averaging $8.5 million annually, Alaska Aerospace will employ FOUR full-time spaceport workers with the remaining (mostly part-time) staff located in Anchorage (270 miles by air from the spaceport).
(source: Alaska Governor’s 2021 Budget, see attachment)
Alaska Aerospace failed in its 2019 attempt to open a second spaceport in Hawaii.
(Source: https://www.adn.com/business-economy/2019/10/31/landlord-backs-out-of-hawaii-spaceport-project-sought-by-alaska-aerospace/.) The spaceport would have been on a site not far from the Mauna Loa macadamia nut farm. Alaska Aerospace CEO Mark Lester said that he, “respect(s) and honor(s) what all the other stakeholders have to say in this as well.” Hawaii's two oceanside launch pads would not launch over a National Seashore, designated Wilderness Area, near a nuclear submarine base, or over private property and residents. Hopefully, AAC will listen to local concerns in Camden County, too.
Camden County’s Press Release was prepared by Hope Beckham, who is paid at least $8,000 per month for spaceport publicity, which raises the question of why publicity is necessary for a government "investment." Hope Beckham's publicity fee is equal to the maximum salaries allocated for Camden’s Assistant Fire Chief, Director of Public Works, Chief Deputy Sheriff, Chief Property Appraiser, or the Director of Planning and Development.
Camden County’s 2021 Budget fails to fund 29.5 requested staff positions and freezes salaries for all current employees. Spaceport Camden receives an additional $1,230,000.00 in the 2021 Budget. Spaceport Camden still has not met the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act or the FAA Spaceport Operator License. The FAA has advised Camden that irrespective of other approvals, an actual rocket launch license may not be issued.
All US spaceports require Federal, State, or local funding.
Spaceport Camden is 100% funded by the taxpayers of Camden County, Georgia.